Class of 2021

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Lauren Carlson, MD

Lauren Carlson, MD, was born and raised in the third-ring Twin Cities suburb of Victoria, MN, neighbor to Chanhassen, home of the legendary Prince. Her favorite summer memories involve ... 

regularly participating in the local Fourth of July parade with her neighbors, camping with her family along the shores of Lake Superior, and traveling the state with her dad on Friday nights to visit Relay for Life events. From an early age, she was indoctrinated into the family tradition of hosting potlucks for every holiday. She remembers thinking that everyone had extended families with too many cousins to count (but later learned, to be exact, she only had 30 first cousins).

After graduating from Chaska High School, Lauren headed to Northfield, MN, the town of “cows, colleges, and contentment”, to attend St. Olaf College. She found a new family with the cross country and track and field teams, as they trudged down gravel roads through hail storms and mastered Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” choreography. During college, she studied abroad in Venecia, Costa Rica, where she developed relationships with her host family and neighbors, strengthened her Spanish language skills, and worked on a research project with a few local physicians. She fell head over heels for cafecito, a time in the late afternoon dedicated to visiting a friend over coffee and bread. Over strong coffee and lots of carbohydrates, she fell in love with Latin America, its food, culture, language, beautiful sights, and people.

Needless to say, she was thrilled when she was accepted for a U.S. Student Fulbright Grant in Ecuador right after graduation. It was here that she met a local physician who started the Family Medicine Department at Universidad de San Francisco- Quito. She worked with him and a few rural public health clinics on a quality improvement project related to women’s obstetric care emergencies. It was also there that her passion for primary care blossomed.

Despite her family’s concern that she would never return, Lauren eventually came back to Minnesota to attend Mayo Clinic School of Medicine. Back in the land of the north, she sought out opportunities to work with Latino populations and keep up her Spanish in local low-cost clinics as a Spanish language interpreter and a volunteer with community education classes. Later, she partnered with these clinics and a local research group to look at the use of digital stories for patients with diabetes. When participants expressed an interest in talking more about their experiences with diabetes, she helped to develop diabetes peer support groups.

All of these experiences solidified Lauren’s interest in primary care and community engagement. She could not be happier to join United Family Medicine, as she is excited to learn from the program’s long-term relationships with the community and commitment to full-scope family medicine. In her free time, Lauren likes to run along the Mississippi River with her partner Josh, invite friends over for a home cooked meal or cafecito, and play with her nephews. 

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Anna Fuglestad, MD

Anna Fuglestad, MD, was born in Fargo, ND while her father finished his family medicine residency training. It ended up being an okay birthplace, since North Dakota is considered to be ...

the Fuglestad family holy land. However, her real hometown was Willmar, MN. This was the place where she had her first memories of dipping her feet in the lake in the summertime and making snow forts out of the beached dock in the winter. Her childhood was full of adventures, including turning nine while overseas in Costa Rica. A time when learning a language was not a chore but a joy, a path to be explored. She grew up tough, as the only daughter between two brothers. She was deeply loved by her parents and the people of the small turkey town.

After graduating from Willmar High School, Anna attended Bethel University in St. Paul. While some may have seen it as the obvious choice, since almost her generations of her family had attended the school, she knew it was exactly where she was supposed to be for the next four years. It would turn out to be a place where her faith was fostered, and her intellect was challenged. A place where she would graduate with no regrets.

She knew early on in college that she wanted to work in the healthcare field as well as continuing to master the Spanish language. Double majoring in biology & Spanish seemed the sure way to go. However, she did not know what career path she wanted to choose. There were so many noble options in the healthcare profession. It was not until the summer after her freshman year, when she attended her older brother’s white coat ceremony that she felt God confirm that being a doctor was the path she should take. Without a doubt, fear or second glance, she committed the rest of her studies to that goal. On the liberal art side of her education, through the many travels in Latin America she saw how language in medicine was a critical part of care. She loved being overseas and she loved learning about the human form. She hoped that one day she could merge these two passions together.

She knew early on in college that she wanted to work in the healthcare field as well as continuing to master the Spanish language. Double majoring in biology & Spanish seemed the sure way to go. However, she did not know what career path she wanted to choose. There were so many noble options in the healthcare profession. It was not until the summer after her freshman year, when she attended her older brother’s white coat ceremony that she felt God confirm that being a doctor was the path she should take. Without a doubt, fear or second glance, she committed the rest of her studies to that goal. On the liberal art side of her education, through the many travels in Latin America she saw how language in medicine was a critical part of care. She loved being overseas and she loved learning about the human form. She hoped that one day she could merge these two passions together.

It took a lot of hard work but finally she was there. Well, almost there. She was on a rickety yellow school bus in a rural village in Honduras. With backpack slung across her back, she stood in the aisle of this crowded vehicle for an hour to arrive in town and, most importantly, to a place with reliable internet connection. That day was important because she was applying for medical school. At a Dunkin Donuts in La Ceiba, Honduras she submitted her application with a prayer of thankfulness. A half a year after that momentous day, she got interrupted from dissecting her lab cat with a call from the University of Minnesota Duluth Medical School. They had a spot for her. She was no longer hoping to be a doctor. She was going to be a doctor.

She traveled up to the northland, the tundra, to Duluth after graduating from college. She was as eager as ever to start her medical training. This was a school that valued family medicine and sought to foster a respect for the discipline in every one of the students. Anna knew before that family medicine could be a good fit for her in medicine. However, it still took her by surprise how great of specialty it would turn out to be for her. She enjoyed committing the medical language to memory, understanding the human body and learning how to help people live at as young an age as possible for as long as possible.

The pinnacle of her medical school experience was with the Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP). Besides, being the time and place she reconnected with her to-be-husband, she had the privilege of going back to her hometown of Willmar and working in the healthcare system for nine months while finishing the majority of her core rotations. She was able to be a part of this rapidly growing and changing community. While it was still a turkey town, it was now also a place where worlds were meeting and commiserating over the many months of winter. She was delighted to have Somali, Latino and Scandinavian friends surrounding her as she learned the art of medicine.

The RPAP experience taught her the most important lesson she will take into residency and future practice. Many patients would tell her she was going to make a great doctor. This puzzled her at first. She had not cured them. She had not given any medication. The main reason they stated this to her was because she had listened to their story and encouraged them where they were at emotionally, physically and spiritually. Anna knows that listening needs to be the first step with every patient, because every story matters.

She is excited to start with United Family Medicine, as the programs passions for community medicine and holistic care line up with hers. She is excited to be able to start to know a little more of the world with all of the diverse communities that call the residency clinic home. Though work will not be everything, in her free time Anna can be found with her soon-to-be husband (May 2018) running, biking or playing board games at Fantasy Flight Games. She knows there is nothing like a good juicy Lucy while watching a Vikings game. She also loves spending time peacefully, whether that is reading, watching Parks & Recreation or taking a nap.

She is excited to start with United Family Medicine, as the programs passions for community medicine and holistic care line up with hers. She is excited to be able to start to know a little more of the world with all of the diverse communities that call the residency clinic home. Though work will not be everything, in her free time Anna can be found with her soon-to-be husband (May 2018) running, biking or playing board games at Fantasy Flight Games. She knows there is nothing like a good juicy Lucy while watching a Vikings game. She also loves spending time peacefully, whether that is reading, watching Parks & Recreation or taking a nap.

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Marquise Hopson, MD

Marquise Hopson, MD, was born and raised in the Steel City, Pittsburgh, PA. As the youngest and only girl in a house full of boys, she dreamt of leading her very own Steel Curtain down the field. She joined all the team sports ...

her brothers played – basketball, baseball, tennis and even incorporated herself into youth football team practices that her dad coached.

In high school, everything changed. Her professional sports hopes were dashed when she failed miserably at varsity basketball tryouts. Fortunately, she made the cut for the chess team instead. She developed a small, yet loyal, following at her matches that included one of her high school English professors. Noticing Marquise’s attention to detail and love of problem solving, this professor recommended she apply to a competitive summer program that would allow her to explore various careers in medicine.

In Marquise’s mind, she wanted to become a video game rollercoaster designer or a veterinarian who only takes care of dogs. Medicine was not on her radar. But she liked the sound of having a summer adventure at nerd camp. She attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Health Care and was overwhelmed by the vast opportunities available in the allied health sciences. Everything was very exciting, but she didn’t connect with any one career path.

So, when she continued her educational journey at Vassar College, she allowed herself to remain open to new experiences: she joined the rugby team, she stopped ironing her shirts, she conducted archaeology research, she worked in a lab researching E. coli, which lead to soap bubble research, which lead to a research job upon graduation involving fruit flies. Motivated by soul searching, volunteering, and that her grant-funded research job was soon to be out of money, she realized it was time to take medicine more seriously. So, she packed up her dog & boyfriend and headed to Washington, DC, to attend the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences. While there, she found solace hiking in the neighboring woods, playing video games, biking and volunteering at a local sustainable farm.

So, when she continued her educational journey at Vassar College, she allowed herself to remain open to new experiences: she joined the rugby team, she stopped ironing her shirts, she conducted archaeology research, she worked in a lab researching E. coli, which lead to soap bubble research, which lead to a research job upon graduation involving fruit flies. Motivated by soul searching, volunteering, and that her grant-funded research job was soon to be out of money, she realized it was time to take medicine more seriously. So, she packed up her dog & boyfriend and headed to Washington, DC, to attend the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences. While there, she found solace hiking in the neighboring woods, playing video games, biking and volunteering at a local sustainable farm.

She has yet to become a professional athlete, but sports have continued to play a role in her life. She first heard about United Family Medicine Residency Program when chatting with an old rugby teammate who had completed, (and loved!) it. Marquise was so intrigued by her enthusiasm and fondness of the place that she applied to do an away rotation. And the rest is history!

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Courtney Klinkhammer, MD

Courtney Klinkhammer, MD,grew up in Sartell, Minnesota, with a dietician for a mother and a chocolate salesman for a father ...

(the irony does not escape those parties involved). The only hobby Courtney’s parents could keep her in from childhood into adulthood was piano, because “those lessons aren’t cheap and it’s a good life skill!”

Having been raised by generations of teachers (Father previously a band teacher—a sadly dying breed), she left high school with hopes of becoming a high school physics teacher since her father wouldn’t let her pursue music. In her first semester at St. Cloud State University, she attempted to take calculus for the first time, meeting the first subject she couldn’t tackle, and thus dashing her dreams of physics. Having been a pharmacy technician since senior year of high school, she likened to the idea of healthcare, setting her sights on becoming a pharmacist.

Shortly before applying for pharmacy school—but unfortunately after studying for and taking the pharmacy school entrance exam—she finally had a teacher ask her if she wanted to be a pharmacist and encouraged her to follow her desires to become a doctor instead. To this day, Courtney has a profound love for retail pharmacists and an addiction to having OTC medications on hand “just in case!”; this (unfortunately) earned her the nickname “Big Pharma” in medical school.

Courtney attended the University of Minnesota Medical School at the Duluth campus for the first two years of medical school. There she developed an inclination towards Family Medicine due to their mission of having family medicine-based education. She also enjoyed working on curriculum boards and tutoring fellow medical students.

During her third year of medical school, Courtney participated in the Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP). This program placed her in the small town of Staples, MN, for most of her third year. She had the opportunity to get lots of hands-on experiences completing her rotations as she was the only medical student there. This experience heightened her desires to provide full-spectrum family medicine in addition to focusing on community health as Staples is in one of the poorest counties in Minnesota.

Courtney’s time spent at the Duluth Medical School and in Staples for RPAP encouraged a passion for full-spectrum family medicine and community health that closely matched United Family Medicine Residency’s mission. After her interview at United, Courtney discussed her interview with fellow intern Anna Fuglestad saying, “If I want to not only be a better Doctor but a better Person, then I should go to United Family Medicine Residency.”

Although Courtney spends a lot of time watching Netflix, she also enjoys ready crappy fiction books, embroidering swear words onto nice fabric, and playing board games with her husband, Kevin. She wishes she did more yoga. In a past life she was an avid percussionist; someday she’ll buy a marimba, but for now she can only give lessons on proper Triangle technique. 

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Daniel Okubo, MD

Daniel Okubo, MD, grew up in the sleepy town of Hilo, Hawaii. Much of his early life was consumed with team sports and exploring the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park ...   

where his father is a seismologist. His parents ensured their children were exposed to the larger world by planning ambitious trips to the mainland that were always wonderfully chaotic. Despite not having any relatives in the medical profession, Daniel became interested in medicine at a young age once he got over wanting to be an astronaut. A program in high school allowed Daniel to shadow physicians in the local hospital where he met wise physician mentors.

After graduating, Daniel packed his T-shirts and board shorts and leap-frogged the country to attend Harvard University. He concentrated in social anthropology, drawn by the parallels between medicine and anthropology after a course taught by a physician-anthropologist dream team. As a freshman he volunteered with the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, where he developed an interest working with homeless individuals. He began as a humble breakfast volunteer washing dishes and cleaning bathrooms and eventually became the director of the Work Contract program, a transitional program that facilitated housing for employed guests. His interests led him to work for Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program as an AmeriCorps Community HealthCorps member. Given a surprising amount of responsibility, he worked as a case manager with the Office Based Opioid Treatment team. The Program’s comprehensive approach to health and wellness sparked an interest in family medicine as an eventual career.

Following his year of service, Daniel returned to Hawaii to become roommates with his uncle and spry 98-year-old grandmother (now 101) and to attend the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii. Daniel thrived with his tight-knit class and the school’s emphasis on community health. He remained interested in specializing in family medicine to care for underserved populations and continued working with homeless individuals through the mobile, student-run Homeless Outreach Medical Education Project. Notable curriculum also included tending to muddy taro patches and snorkeling with dolphins.

Daniel was drawn to United Family Medicine by the program’s commitment to social justice and the opportunity to work with a team of residents and faculty committed to underserved medicine and caring for complex patients. A winter storm the night before his UFM interview quickly taught Daniel the importance of all-wheel drive and patient co-residents. Undaunted, Daniel emerged from the snowdrifts excited to dust off the winter gear he luckily kept since college and experience living in the Midwest.

Daniel has a 17-minutes-younger twin sister who teaches English in Osaka, Japan and an older brother doing something related to PR/marketing in the Bay Area. His parents still live in Hilo, but take every opportunity to visit their children. Daniel enjoys traveling and being outdoors while long distance running, swimming, snorkeling, hiking, and playing soccer. Daniel is looking forward to cheering for the numerous Minnesota professional sports teams, exploring breweries, and trying out any and all winter activities.

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Megan Schmidt, MD

Megan Schmidt, MD, was born just 50 miles south of the Canadian border in the quaint but chilly town of Minot, ND. She spent her childhood industriously digging tunnel forts into snow mounds and sledding down hills with signs proclaiming “no sledding allowed.” She was especially talented at ...

riding her bike to the library in the summer, checking out the maximum number of books allowed, then filling her backpack to the brim and riding a mile uphill to get back home.

In high school she learned many life lessons and developed incredible stamina working at a summer camp run by the local YMCA. There she spent her days sailing children around the lake singing the Spongebob Squarepants theme song, belaying kids up the 50’ alpine climbing tower, and literally swinging from the rafters of the dining hall during meals. Poison Ivy was an ever-present threat, as were prank wars. Her signature prank was to suspend a kayak with rope from the rafters of the boy’s cabin and fill it with several dozen gallons of water, which would immediately dump on the head of anyone who tried to remove the kayak.

After graduating from Minot High School, she found herself fatigued of never-ending winters and headed south to The University of Oklahoma. This decision was solidified during a college tour when she noted flowers blooming in February, and a really great dessert selection at the cafeteria. She started college as an engineering major but quickly changed her mind after discovery her distain for physics. Around that time her friend loaned her a couple books by Michael Pollan, and a passion for nutrition was kindled.

The Nutritional Sciences program she enrolled in was an integrated curriculum that featured several thousand hours of clinical experience built into the degree. It was during an inpatient dietetics rotation in Oklahoma City, between calculating tube feeding formulas and TPN dosages, that she was overcome with an insatiable curiosity about everything else that was going on in the hospital. Her preceptor told her “you don’t need to know all of that stuff”, and she promptly ordered a set of MCAT prep books on Amazon.

Medical school brought her back to the cold snowy north, this time an encouraging 80 miles south of Canada in Grand Forks, ND. Weeks were filled with textbooks, coffee, and many, many pastries at the local bakery. Both she and her massive textbooks became so well know at the local bakery that the staff started to take pity on her and sent her home with all of the leftover cookies and apple turnovers at the end of the day. In the summer she frequently abandoned her studies in favor of riding her bike to the local farmers market and filling her backpack with locally grown tomatoes. Her favorite way to cope with stress was by making a new soup, sauce, or ratatouille from scratch.

During the third year of medical school she was incredibly fortunate to spend a life-changing month in Seeley Lake, Montana with a rural family medicine physician. This tiny town (population 1,659) tucked in between the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Mission Mountains, had its first stoplight installed while she was there. It was during this experience that she developed a love for family medicine and resolved to spend her life taking care of her patients from cradle to grave. She is thrilled to be continuing her education at the United Family Medicine Residency program and call St. Paul “home.”  

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Nicholas Swenson, MD

Nicholas Swenson, MD, grew up in Vancouver, Washington, colloquially referred to as “The ‘Couve” by locals.  Although perhaps slightly smaller and less illustrious than better-known Vancouver, British Columbia, what it lacks in name recognition it makes up for in natural splendor. Located just north of ...  

Portland, Oregon, Vancouver sits at the mouth of the beautiful Columbia River Gorge and in the shadow of Mt. Hood. The son of a nurse and a cardiologist, Nick’s very first exposures to obscure medical acronyms took place around the dinner table. His family retreated with frequency into the Cascade Mountain Range where he spent the most memorable days of his childhood hiking, backpacking, and hitting the slopes to shred some gnar (i.e. snowboarding).

After graduating from Mountain View High School, Nick moved from banks of the Columbia River to the shores of Puget Sound to attend Seattle Pacific University. Overwhelmed by the task of honing in on a career path, he took some time off during his undergraduate studies to volunteer and travel abroad in Latin America, where he learned to speak Spanish from some chiding kiddos at an orphanage in Baja California, Mexico. While tending to the cuts, scrapes, fungal foot infections and other minor ailments of his young tutors, he began to contemplate a career in medicine. He spent some time volunteering with a community development non-profit in the Dominican Republic before returning to Seattle to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with an accidental minor in Chemistry which can only be explained by his love for the organic chemistry lab.

Following graduation and a celebratory bicycle tour down the Pacific Coast Highway on a 1974 Schwinn LeTour 10-speed, Nick returned to Seattle and worked some odd jobs while completing additional coursework, brewing coffee at a local café and chocolate shop and grooming dogs, including Howard Shultz’s (CEO of Starbucks) golden retrievers. He eventually moved into a research assistant position at the Seattle Veterans Affairs Hospital, where he worked on a research study of prazosin for nightmares at Joint Base Lewis McChord, and coordinated a study of mild Traumatic Brain Injury amongst U.S. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. It was during this time that Nick met his wife Angie, a budding Epidemiologist with roots in Minnesota.

Accepted to the University of Washington School of Medicine, Nick knew he was keen on primary care and underserved medicine from the start of his medical training, and so he was ecstatic to be accepted into the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program. During his tenure as a medical student, Nick conducted a public health outreach project during a rural rotation in Shoshone, Idaho to encourage helmet use, and distributed donated helmets free of charge at the county fair. He also participated in #ProtectOurPatients, doing his part to lobby local lawmakers to oppose repeal of the Affordable Care Act. During his time off, he recruited those of his fellow medical students with a similar penchant for adventure to join him for short backpacking excursions into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Northeast of Seattle.

For leisure, Nick enjoys spending quality time with his wife Angie and their adopted dog Tugou, exploring new bicycle routes, hosting friends for dinner, and breaking free of the city now and then to wash his spirit clean in the wilderness. Although he’ll miss the mountainous topography of the Pacific Northwest, he is excited to explore the waterways and wild places of Minnesota. Most of all, he is excited to join United Family Medicine in service to the West Seventh neighborhood of St. Paul.